Which means I can make more new batches! I try to stagger my soapmaking sessions so that we don't have too much soap around here. Christmas helps thin the herd some, as do birthdays and other gift-giving occasions. If I have more soap than I know what to do with, I'll pack a box to send off to my mom and dad.
With a dwindling supply of soap, I am itching to experiment with some new techniques. Something I've been wanting to try for a while is making salt soap.I saw a wonderful tutorial on salt bars by Sarah from Ladybug Soapworks some time ago and I have been looking forward to trying it.
Making salt bars is similar to making regular soap, but the recipe is a bit different. Salt is usually included at somewhere between 50% - 100% of the oil weight when making salt bars. Suppose my total oil weight is 32 ounces - if I want my salt ratio at 100%, I would add 32 ounces of salt to my traced soap; if I want my salt ratio at 50%, I would use 16 ounces of salt.
|Pink Himalayan Salt|
But won't all of that coconut oil be drying to the skin? After all, soapmakers normally use no more than 30% coconut oil in their recipes because the soap can be drying otherwise. The answer would seemingly be yes - unless you do a high superfat. Superfatting means that the soapmaker uses more oil than is necessary to react with the lye, leaving a portion of the oils unsaponified. The unsaponified oils create a mild, moisturizing bar, and they also assure that the soap is not lye-heavy by providing a buffer. (Superfatting is also sometimes referred to as a lye discount.) I usually factor a superfat of 7% into my regular soap recipes, meaning that 7% of the oils in the recipe do not react with the lye, leaving them unsaponified and sort of free-floating in the bar. But because coconut oil can be drying in high amounts, a higher superfat is needed. Most soapmakers go with a 15% - 20% superfat for salt bars. I went with a 20% superfat.
|A slab mold with dividers keeps salt bars simple.|
Another thing to keep in mind is that salt bars get rock hard very quickly.They need to be cut soon after molding, like within a few hours or less. If you wait too long to cut a loaf of salt soap, it will likely crumble and be generally difficult to deal with. To avoid the anxiety of cutting bars ("Do I cut now? Is it too soon? Or have I waited too long?"), I opted to use a slab mold with dividers so that I would not have to cut anything.
And for the scent? Salt bars seen kinda spa-like to me, so I chose something tropical. I settled on a yummy Pineapple Ginger fragrance oil from Elements Bath & Body. Sadly, it appears that Elements no longer carries this scent, as I cannot find it on their website.
Here's a video of the making of my Pineapple Ginger salt bars:
What's so great about salt bars anyway? Well, I have never tried salt soap before, but I hear that it produces a creamy, lotion-like lather that leaves the skin feeling moisturized. My mom and I once visited a boutique in Sandestin, Florida that had a salt scrub that was apparently very popular. A shipment had just come in and the salespeople were pushing the scrub pretty hard, inviting customers to try it out in the store. We asked, "Won't the salt be drying?" The saleswoman said, "Oh, no, not at all. Come try some." And she did a little demo and let us try out the scrub ourselves. It left our hands surprisingly soft and smooth. We didn't buy any of the scrub (it was kinda pricey), but she told us that they can barely keep it in stock and that it sells out as quickly as it arrives. I'm wondering if salt soap performs similarly and can't wait to find out!
I did try a bar from this batch about two weeks after making it, just to see how it compares to my regular soaps. The lather was creamy, rich, and dense and it left my hands feeling soft. "Lotion-like" is a good way to describe the lather. Not in the sense that the lather itself has the consistency of lotion, but in the sense that it felt like I had applied lotion to my hands after using the soap. The soap is nice now, but I'm sure that it will be even nicer after another four weeks or so of curing time!
Have you ever made or bought salt soap? How did you like it?